How do you get your student to be self motivated and to enjoy practicing their song? Harder still, how do you encourage them to play their pieces with musical feeling, especially if the student is a young child, a distracted teenager or a busy adult? I have learnt that they need to make an emotional connection with their piece. But how do you make possible the sometimes seemingly impossible? Easy! Let me share some of my tried and tested methods for accessing the ‘Story Behind the Song.’
1 Personal responsibility
Wherever possible, I let the student choose their next piece! Sometimes, if I have a certain technique in mind that needs developing, I will offer them a choice between two or three songs that I know will help them in that endeavour. Importantly, this will also make them feel in charge by choosing the final piece. Because THEY are deciding, they are more likely to succeed because they have taken personal responsibility for some of their learning decisions.
I like to give them a personal performance of their chosen piece to show them simply what a great composition they have chosen and how much FUN their piece is for ME. I ask them to sit in my chair where I can maintain good eye contact with [···]